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Return to Rahasia

by Rodger Burns

B7, Rahasia, needs a "Return to" update. It's a quintessential old-school module - over a hundred encounter areas to explore, suggestions of epic world-shaking plot linked to a bunch of challenges that a low-level party can overcome, and just enough background flavour to make things interesting and make placing the adventure in an established campaign world very, very difficult.

So I'm looking at a "Return to Rahasia" project, an update to 3E mechanics and style. The goal here is not to recreate a single dungeon for characters to hack through, but build a mini-campaign - several interconnected adventure locations, each one a session or two long, that can be run back-to-back or interspersed with other adventures. 3E is good this way - it allows better flexibility of adventure and encounter design, shorter sessions and faster character advancement, and more ability to link adventure background in to a larger campaign storyline.

My intended expansions to the original setting background include:

- The Siswa become a widespread elven monastic order, dedicated to preserving close contact between distant settlements and clanholds. Their temples can be found in many nations, and link to one another with teleportation gates established by the mage Elyas, long ago. In the Known World, Siswa are known to maintain temples in territories held by the Vyalia, the Feadiel, and the Belcadiz clans, as well as in the territories of Norwold, western Sind and Wendar and possibly in other current and former elvenhomes as well.

- The Rahib is not simply a malicious cleric, but a special agent of some larger power (defaulting to the theocracy of Great Hule, but that can be changed to anyone who uses clerics and likes sneaking and sabotage) that wants to gain control over the Siswa's temples and their teleportation gates. This teleportation network will be used to infiltrate spies, assassins and saboteurs into many of the elven kingdoms and neighbouring courts.

- The Witch Sisters are creatures of evil who have allied with the Rahib and provide him with fell arcane might in return for a promise of freedom. The Witch Sisters are responsible for dominating the Siswa of the temples, and thus keeping the teleportation gates open for the Rahib's use; such an alliance is seen by the Rahib as more subtle and certain of success than an open assault on the Siswa temple network. The Witch Sisters want freedom, but are somewhat dependent on the Rahib to assist them in this goal; the Rahib would rather keep the Witch Sisters as captive tools, but has to display at least a good faith effort towards securing their freedom in order to gain their support. Cunning PCs may be able to widen the gap of mutual distrust, turning one villain on the other.

Adventure locations include:

- Siswa temples located in multiple locations. Each one has the same general structure, but different occupants and threats. In one, the Siswa have been enslaved utterly, humiliated by an orcish minion of the Rahib and his tribe who are the true masters of the temple. A second appears normal from the outside, but within lie ranks of undead warriors who guard the temple while brainwashed Siswa go about their devotions. And a third features a cunning pixie assassin who hides himself from casual visitors, but stalks the devoted intruder with deadly intent.

- Lairs and bases occupied by the Rahib and associates. These are sometimes closely connected to Siswa temples, and need to be cleared in order to reduce the Rahib's influence over the temple network; in other instances, the characters will go out of their way to search for information, weapons, or enemies involved with the plot.

- The halls of Elyas, a planar citadel existing partly on the Prime and partly in sections of the Ethereal and elemental planes. Apportation tricks, directional shifts, and weird monsters and encounters are commonplace here.

- Fastnesses of the Witch Sisters, another weird and possibly extradimensional location. The characters seek out information here, and also possibly create weak points to exploit.

- Trials of the Elements, an outgrowth of the Three Temples that existed in the depths of the original module. One each of body ('Earth'), mind ('Air') and spirit ('Fire'), the trials are essential for the characters to learn the tools for banishing the Witch Sisters.

- Inner Sanctum, the site of the final confrontation (which is a lot hairier than in the original module!)